by kiara green
"mom, i-i-i'm--" the beginnings of a life-changing sentence spoken through trembling lips.
|it felt like the sky was falling around him, like the earth had torn itself apart.
he stood on the edge of his porch, watching his sisters blue & black curls bounce their way into her worn-down truck.
don't leave me, he thought, watching her pull down her sunglasses so he couldn't see her cry.
she smiled & waved like the ocean to the shore & then
he watched her disappear down the dirt road in a cloud of dust & then he turned to go in.
his world was broken in half, his twin had left him.
he was alone.
silently, he trekked to his room, feet burning into the carpet with molten lava & end-of-days thoughts.
he was alone
with his mother.
"mom, i-i-i'm--" the beginnings of a life-changing sentence spoken with trembling lips.
"you're not gay, are you?" a condescending, judgemental voice like a slap in the face.
a flinch, a silent nod, eyes flicked up to eyes, hate so prominent it could light a fire.
a slap to the cheek, "how dare you?"
a small whimper, a step back. "i didn't get to choose," spoken in a whisper that could sadden the dead.
"what have you done to my son?"
"mama." heartbreak in one word.
"i did not raise you to be this way, get out."
tears welling under pale glass irises. "mama."
"do not call me that! you are not my son! get out!" a raised voice, a raised hand, a single finger pointing to the door.
"i'm sorry." a choked sob escaping cracked lips as he turned & walked out the door.
he kept walking.
"benji!" a loud yell & pounding feet. "oh, god, benji."
she attacked him in a hug and his numbing mask broke. he shattered in her arms, sinking to the dust-filled ground.
"she'll come around, benji," a tearful promise stuffed into a cracked ribcage, "you'll see."
yelling, screaming, a boy alone in his room, pillow over his head, trying to block out vicious words.
"i will not have a faggot under this roof!"
"don't call him that!"
"that is what he is, isn't it?"
words cut sharper than glass.
"no, mother, he is benji. just like he always has been," his sisters exasperated sigh, "just like he always will be."
"he is not my benjamin. he is a disgrace."
"just accept him."
"it's not that easy."
the boy curled on his bed, whimpered & felt his body tremble.
it's not my fault! he thinks as his heart is squeezed. teardrops soak into his mattress.
many minutes later his sister creeps in & gathers his broken body into her arms.
"what's so wrong--" he begins but is interrupted by a god-awful tsunami of emotion.
"shh," his sister whispers.
"what's so wrong with a boy loving a boy?" his voice is a broken piano note ringing through cold winter air.
"benji, there is no more wrong in being gay than there is in being straight."
"why can't she see that?"
"because she is blind to the world as it is."
"i love you, beth. please don't ever leave me."
"i promise you, benji, i will not leave you. not even when the breath runs out of my body."